Survey: NoSQL adoption driven by schema hate

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Almost half of 1,300 database pros surveyed have solid plans to move some work to NoSQL databases in the first half of this year, according to new research. In companies with more than 250 developers, 70 percent have funded NoSQL projects, according to a survey conducted by Couchbase, which as a NoSQL database company certainly has a dog in this fight.

It’s not surprising that respondents had a NoSQL bent given that Couchbase recruited them from Twitter (using the NoSQL hashtag), InfoQ as well as the company’s own database. Still, some of the results were interesting.

NoSQL (or not only SQL) databases, which do not rely on the SQL query language commonly used in relational databases from Oracle,  Microsoft, and IBM, got their start in webscale companies like Google and Yahoo that needed their ability to scale out across multiple servers. MongoDB, Cassandra are other NoSQL databases.

Of those planning to make the transition, the biggest motivation was disdain for the inflexible schemas that are part-and-parcel of SQL databases, according to the survey. Nearly half (49 percent) of those surveyed said schemas drove them to NoSQL. The second biggest factor, cited by 35 percent, was the inability of relational databases to handle scale-out data.

One of NoSQL’s biggest draws is that users don’t have to scope out their data fields — name, phone number, state — in advance and then be held captive to those schemas.

It was striking that the language cited by most of NoSQL-loving respondents was Java, followed closely by PHP, then C#.  “That could be surprising that the favorite was not Ruby or the bleeding-edge funky languages,” said James Phillips, Couchbase co-founder and SVP of products.

NoSQL is definitely gaining traction but the pure-play NoSQL players will see increasing competition from the RDBMS world as well. Virtually all the RDBMS players including Oracle are coming out with their own NoSQL plays.

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